Tag Archives: tofu
I’m not exactly sure how my love affair with pickled foods began, but I’m willing to bet that it started out for more aesthetic reasons than gustatory.
I am absolutely a sucker for packaging – who knows if those “Bed Head” products are any better than the generic, but every time I see those bright, eye-catching bottles, I contemplate shelling out the 13 bucks just to have it on my shelf. I think the same thing happens when I see pickled foods – there’s something about those beautiful glass Ball jars that fills me with nostalgia. After all, pickling is a great way to preserve fruits, vegetables and other foods from seasons past – opening a jar of pickled peaches is a perfect way to get a little taste of summertime, even in the dead of winter.
Aside from the symbolic cucumber “pickle”, almost everything and anything can be pickled and canned. Most people know pickled ginger from the pink stuff alongside their sushi, but I love it so much that I can pop the little slices as a snack. The apples provide color, and also soak up all that tangy, spicy pickled ginger flavor.
You’re probably noticing a theme so far, too – I am a big fan of flavor combinations. This single Ball jar plays host to lots of different flavors and textures – sweet, tangy, spicy, crunchy – and the longer it sits, the better it gets.
I tend to plow through my pickled foods fairly quickly, swiping a handful or two every time I go to the fridge, but if you plan to keep these for a long time or give them as gifts, you’ll want to process your jars in a hot water bath. I plan on writing a more detailed post about canning in the future, but in the meantime, you can read about processing your canned fruits, veggies and other foods here.
Pickled Apples and Ginger
Fills One Quart Jar
1 lb. ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
1 red delicious apple, sliced thinly
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 cinnamon sticks, whole
2 star anise pods, whole
1. Sterilize a one-quart glass jar in boiling water. Dry and set aside.
2. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and cook ginger and apple slices until slightly softened. You should only need to cook it for about one minute. Drain in a colander.
3. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, sugar and salt. Stir until sugar and salt have dissolved and bring to a boil.
4. Make sure apple and ginger slices are dried well, and transfer them to the jar. Insert the cinnamon sticks and anise pods, then cover with the vinegar mixture. The ginger and apples should be completely submerged in the liquid.
5. Lid the jar and allow it to cool before refrigerating. Allow flavors to mingle overnight, then enjoy in stir-fries, marinades, sauces, on sandwiches, or straight from the jar. The ginger and apples will keep for about six months in the refrigerator.
When I was in high school, my first boyfriend’s mom used to make a delicious pilaf with barley and mushrooms that I would eat by the bowlful. I loved it so much that I requested the recipe, but it’s been nearly six years now and I hadn’t made it since. I generally always have mushrooms and carrots on hand, but it seemed strange to buy barley simply for the purpose of making one dish.
The recipe also called for quite a bit of oil, which doesn’t quite fit my current lifestyle, and quite a bit of preparation, including nearly an hour in the oven (not quite doable on our first 80-plus degree day). I was worried that leaving it out would compromise the creaminess of the original version, but if I had known how this revised edition would come out, I would have attempted it a lot sooner.
I love the texture of the Israeli couscous. I had purchased it awhile ago, not really sure what I would turn it into, but eager to try something other than a typical Mediterranean-style salad. This pilaf is savory, nutty and ever-so-slightly creamy – feel free to substitute the couscous with barley or orzo pasta if you don’t have it on hand.
The trick here is to chop and slice all the veggies very finely – the chewy, nutty pearls of couscous contrast nicely with the soft and savory cooked vegetables. A liberal sprinkling of dried cranberries adds some sweetness and color, but any dried fruit will do here – next time I hope to add dried apricots and slivered almonds for a little crunch.
Serve this alongside your favorite tofu dish, or enjoy it as a light springtime lunch.
Israeli Couscous Pilaf
1 cup dry Israeli couscous
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
8 oz. button mushroom caps, chopped
1/2 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon dried parsley
Salt + Pepper
1. In a saucepan, cook couscous in 1 1/4 cups boiling water or vegetable broth for about 7-8 minutes. Set aside.
2. Spray a frying pan with non-stick spray and add the onion, garlic, carrot, celery and zucchini. Cook for 4 minutes, stirring often, until slightly softened.
3. Add the mushrooms and cranberries to the pan and cook until all ingredients are soft.
4. Add the couscous, parsley, salt and pepper. Stir well. Enjoy hot or cold.
Nutrition per Serving: 208 calories, 1g fat, 46g carbohydrates, 7g protein.
The lentil. Cheap, versatile and filling, what’s not to love about this little legume? When I found a bag of these in the cupboard, I knew exactly what to do with them – a thick, delicious daal with classic Indian flavors.
Indian cuisine is something I discovered later in life. In fact, I ate my first remotely Indian dish on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship only two years ago and fell in love. But even once I got home, I left the cooking to “the professionals” since, let’s face it, German Jews aren’t exactly known for their world-class curries.
But Indian cuisine doesn’t have to be intimidating or difficult – I’ve found that the most important part is a well-stocked spice rack. The addition of turmeric, curry powder and cumin transform a humble pot of carrots into a warm, comforting stew.
High in protein, folate and fiber, lentils are a great addition to any diet – vegan or otherwise. Plus, since dried lentils don’t have to be soaked overnight like dried beans, you can whip them up whenever the craving hits.
2 cups dried green lentils
2 carrots, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cumin
3 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1. In a large pot, cook onion and garlic with non-stick spray until lightly brown.
2. Add dried lentils, carrot, tomato paste and spices. Cover with 5 cups of hot water.
3. Stirring occasionally, simmer gently until lentils are tender, about 20 minutes. The daal should be slightly thick. Serve hot with rice or naan.
Nutrition per Serving: 149 calories, 0g fat, 26g carbohydrates, 11g protein.